It’s hard to remember, but prior to last year LG was the only OLED TV manufacturer around. That all changed in 2017, when we saw a massive influx of others getting in on the OLED action, and these included Sony – an early pioneer of the technology.
2018 sees it taking a second stab at the premium TV display tech with the Sony Bravia A8F. Uninspiring name aside, the new TV looks like it’s going to contain all the great tech we loved the first time round, along with a couple of tasty improvements.
Without a doubt the most impressive feature of Sony’s previous OLED effort, the A1E, was its object-based HDR remastering. 4K HDR content is great when you can get it, but the majority of content is still produced in ‘only’ HD SDR. What Sony’s tech does is to make this last-gen content look almost identical to native 4K HDR content thanks to a raft of technologies that includes super bit mapping and dual database processing.
With every OLED TV out there using panels produced by LG Display, Sony’s picture processing tech (thanks to the X1 Extreme processor) provides a pretty compelling reason to pick its set over the competition. No word yet on if the input latency has been improved over last year’s model.
Of course, you’ll still get the best results if you stick with native 4K HDR content, and in that regard the A8F has you covered with a Dolby Vision compatible display that should squeeze every bit of detail from the right source material.
Sony’s ‘Acoustic Surface’ technology makes a return from last year, which effectively turns the entire front of the TV into a speaker rather than relying on downward-facing speakers.
We’re a little disappointed to see that the A8F continues to lack a traditional raised TV stand. Eye-catching the set may be, but we’d rather not have its entire bottom edge resting on our TV cabinet thank you very much.
LCD isn’t going anywhere
Of course, the high prices of OLED means that LCD isn’t going anywhere, and so Sony also has a new LCD TV to show off at CES. The X900F is available in sizes ranging from 49-inches to a beastly 85-inches, and also features the Dolby Vision compatibility and X1 Extreme seen in the flagship OLED.
Here the focus is on improving motion-handling. Sony calls the system ‘X-Motion Clarity’, and promises that it’ll offer smoother motion without impacting on the sets overall brightness (which can be a problem with this sort of tech).
Like its older OLED brother, the X900F comes packing support for Google Assistant, which you can access by pressing the microphone button on the remote. Integration with Amazon’s Alexa is also possible if you have an external Alexa-equipped speaker – but it's not built in like we’ve seen from other manufacturers such as Hisense and LG at this year’s show.
Considering how impressed we were with Sony’s efforts last year we’re interested to see how these promises actually end up looking in the wild. Unfortunately the company hasn’t mentioned price yet, but we should get a chance to take a look at the sets for ourselves by the time the show is out.
- New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018